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In Memory of Jim McReynolds

Jesse McReynolds Moves On
With New Band, New Show, New Albums

Remaining Jim & Jesse Partner a Master of Bluegrass, Other Musical Forms

Nashville - Grand Ole Opry star Jesse McReynolds has spent the seven months since his brother Jim's death solidifying the Jim & Jesse bluegrass legacy while striking out in new musical directions. Originator of the "cross-picking" style of mandolin playing, McReynolds has demonstrated himself to be one of the most innovative and prolific players in popular music.

McReynolds completed Tis Sweet To Be Remembered, a collection that turned out to be Jim & Jesse's last album, earlier this year. He has since featured selections from the album in his road show, a program that now blends classic bluegrass with elements of western swing and traditional country music. In addition, he has built a new edition of his backup band, the Virginia Boys, recorded an instrumental album with fiddle wizard Travis Wetzel and written, recorded and released the alarm-sounding single, "America On Bended Knees." On July 5, McReynolds and his band performed by invitation at the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival in Washington, D. C.

Serving as his own producer, McReynolds is in the final stages of recording his first solo album for Pinecastle Records. It will contain such gems as "New Partner Waltz," a Louvin Brothers classic that pairs McReynolds vocally with Charles Whitstein; two Dan Seals compositions, "Showboat Gambler" and "I Won't Be Blue Anymore"; new versions of "Faded Love" and "In The Pines" that feature ace fiddler Bobby Hicks; and a cover of the "Death Row Lament" made famous by Hank Williams, "My Main Trial Is Yet To Come." McReynolds wrote "The Anniversary Song" especially for this album. He hopes to release it as a single and tie it in with a wedding-anniversary card promotion.

The McReynolds/Wetzel album, tentatively titled Bending The Rules, will be issued on OMS Records. The release date has yet to be set. In addition to boasting white-hot versions of such pop and jazz standards as "Sweet Georgia Brown," "El Cumbanchero," "Limehouse Blues" and "Alabama Jubilee," it also offers the McReynolds originals "Witch Grass," "Blowing Up A Storm," "Waltz Of Joy," "Bending The Rules," "Night Runner" and "Okechobee Wind."

Jesse McReynolds' current band is comprised of Charles Whitstein (guitar, vocals), Luke McKnight (mandolin, vocals), Bobby Hicks (fiddle), Daniel Grindstaff (banjo), Kent Blanton (bass) and Donnie Catron (guitar, tenor vocals.

Both as a soloist and as a member of Jim & Jesse, Jesse McReynolds has been adventurous, even as he set new standards for bluegrass. Jim & Jesse first made waves in 1965 with their Berry Pickin' In The Country, an album of Chuck Berry songs produced by the legendary Billy Sherrill (Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Charlie Rich) and for which Berry himself did the liner notes. The duo regularly made the country charts from the '60s through the '80s, with such tunes as "Better Times A-Coming," "Diesel On My Tail," "Ballad Of Thunder Road," "Freight Train," "North Wind" and "Oh Louisiana." The brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964 and were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Assn.'s Hall of Honor in 1993.

In 1969, The Doors' Jim Morrison picked McReynolds to play mandolin on The Soft Parade. Working with banjoist Eddie Adcock, fiddler Kenny Baker and dobroist Josh Graves, McReynolds recorded and toured in the late '80s and early '90s as part of the supergroup "The Masters."

Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys are booked by: J&J Music, P. O. Box 1385, Gallatin, TN 37066, Ph: 615 452-7321, e-mail